The Big Move: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Relocating for Work

by Guest Author, Miles Oliver

According to a survey by Allied, 36% of professionals have relocated for career advancement or the opportunity to make more money, but is it right for you? While it can be exciting to move to a new city and take on a new challenge, there are also many steps that you’ll need to take to accomplish those lofty career goals. Before you make a big decision about your future, you need to weigh the pros and cons of relocating for work.

Pro: You Can Help Your Career

There are many different tactics to help advance your career, and you can choose the option that’s best for your lifestyle and job position. You can connect with a mentor or continue your education. You may also choose to relocate to find the success you desire. Sometimes, a new position may open up at your current company that aligns with your long-term career goals.

Other times, you may find a position at a completely different organization that calls your name but learn that it operates elsewhere. If you find a position that calls to you, the major pro of relocating is  that you can land your dream job. This could be good news for your family, and your family’s needs are one of the top factors when you’re considering work relocation. But by that same token, your family’s needs could be complex, meaning this isn’t an open-and-shut case.

Con: There Are Many Steps To Consider

The con of moving for your dream job is that it may not be an easy journey. That’s because, unless you’re moving to another town 30-60 miles down the road, you’ll need to realize the downside of relocating: there’s a lot you must do to prepare for a long-term relocation. First, you’ll need to talk to folks at your new job to understand the assignment further. Then you’ll need to research the location to ensure you’ll have the services and amenities you need for everyday life.

Then, you’ll need to make financial decisions that include learning how much money you’ll need to save and discovering how much things cost in the new place so you can adjust your budget accordingly. You’ll also need to pack all of your belongings and get them from place to place, and during this whole process, you’ll need to adjust to the new office and work environment.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t relocate. Yes, there’s a lot to do, but if you know you’re moving in advance and you plan ahead, you can get all your ducks in a row, so the move isn’t so emotionally taxing.

Pro: You May Experience Positive Stress

When weighing the pros and cons of relocating, you could experience stress, but that’s not always bad news. How you react will make the difference.

There’s a positive type of anxiety called eustress, which is normal psychological stress you feel when you’re excited and energized. This type of stress can be good in short bursts because it inspires you and can help you to focus and enhance your performance. This may be the feeling you need when you start a new job far away from home and it could lead to initial success.

Con: You May Also Have Negative Stress

However, when there’s good news, there can also be bad news. That short burst of positive energy can turn into long-term stress, which you could feel when relocating. As you think further into your relocation, you may become worried about your family or the major task of packing up all of your belongings, and that stress can carry over into your new job.

Find a happy medium by managing your stress while relocating. Focus on the positive and the fact that you’re getting a great job and advancing your career. You can also eliminate stress by practicing self-care by getting enough sleep and eating a good diet, so you don’t feel sluggish or have cloudy judgment. Finally, many people worry that they won’t know anyone at their new destination, so once you arrive, try to make friends with co-workers or attend community functions in your new neighborhood.

Pro: You Can Dip Your Toe In The Water

One advantage of relocating for work is that you have the flexibility to test the waters before committing to a permanent move. So how can you do that? One way is to look into seasonal work. Imagine moving to a mountain town to work for a ski resort in the winter, or working on a farm near the coast during harvest. Or, with the right certifications, you could pick up work as a lifeguard during the summer almost anywhere there’s a pool. The possibilities end only when your imagination does. Seasonal work offers many benefits, including:

● Flexibility with your schedule.
● The opportunity to add additional income.
● A chance to show your talents, which could lead to permanent employment in the future.

Even if you find a permanent job and move all of your belongings across the country, you don’t necessarily need to buy a house or lay down roots. You could temporarily store your items in a storage unit. There are many options, so find the proper storage unit size for your needs by performing an inventory of your belongings and by boxing everything up so you can see how much space you require.

Once you calculate your space, look into storage spaces in the new city and look at their website to see if they have the sizes that fit your needs. When you find one, store your nonessential items there while you find out if the new job will fit your needs. If it won’t, you can remove your stuff and move back.

There’s a lot to consider when relocating for work, so it’s essential to sit down and hash out all the details. This might include your budget and cost of living, how you’ll get to and from your job if it’s on-site, and how your relationships might be affected. If you have a spouse or partner, would they go with you? If you’re living with your parents, will they be averse to you moving back in if you don’t like it?

Weigh out all of the above details carefully — it’s your life, and it deserves serious consideration. Then, choose the best direction for your career and stick with it.

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About the author: Miles Oliver is a freelance contributor whose writing focuses on professional development. You can reach him at

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